Story Number: NNS140621-01Release Date: 6/21/2014 11:25:00 AM
From Navy Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit Seven, Public Affairs
ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), joined Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 7 in Rota, Spain for a recommissioning and ribbon-cutting ceremony, June 20.
Capt. Juliann Althoff, NEPMU 7 officer in charge, welcomed personnel and guests, including several distinguished visitors, to the ceremony and thanked the BUMED, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, U.S. Navy Forces Europe and Africa (NAVEUR), and Naval Station Rota for their work in helping the unit re-establish following an eight-year hiatus.
During her remarks, Althoff emphasized NEPMU 7's mission to support the fleet and deployed forces with its public health initiatives and requirements.
"You are looking at Navy medicine's latest asset, a forward based preventive medicine unit, the first Navy medicine unit to be stood up in recent memory," said Althoff. "This ceremony represents the return of NEPMU 7, a unit first commissioned almost 60 years ago. It pays tribute to the unit's rich history while looking forward to the promise of its bright future here in Rota."
Previously disestablished in September 2006, NEPMU 7 will once again provide a comprehensive range of public health and preventive medicine services to customers within the Africa and Europe areas of responsibility.
"We are designed to be responsive while maintaining a small footprint, able to quickly deploy small capability-based teams throughout the theater in support of deployed forces," said Althoff.
"What this unit represents are thousands and thousands of people they'll never see. Why won't you see them? Because you won't have to, because they won't be ill. You won't have to because they'll be out performing the mission. And they won't need to be brought in and tended to," said Nathan. "Until you've suffered something from the environment around you, you can't appreciate what these people do. They're agile, they're expert and they're going to be out there and they're going to keep us in our job."
At the ceremony, Nathan was piped on with seven sideboys and one military working dog.
"This was the first time with a dog, and I liked it," he said.
First established as Navy Preventive Medicine 7 in 1956 and commissioned May 2, 1957, the command received its current designation of NEPMU 7 in 1971. The unit provided public health services to 6th Fleet and the European Theater and was originally homeported at Naval Support Activity Naples and relocated to Naval Air Station Sigonella in 1995.
The decision to re-establish NEPMU 7 included a change of venue from its former location in Sigonella, Italy to its new home in Rota, Spain.
Navy medicine's facilities team from the BUMED detachment in Jacksonville, Florida worked closely with the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), NAVEUR and NAVSTA Rota in the selection, design and renovation of the facility for NEMPU 7, according to Mike Plante, BUMED director for Installations and Logistics.
"The project was ably managed by Lt. Shaun Bott, the BUMED Health Facility Planning and Project Officer (HFPPO), from design through the facility renovation phase," said Plante.